President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Ogoni leaders to sensitise indigenes on the value of protecting national assets like pipelines and other oil installations.
According to the president, willful damage usually creates more havoc on their environment and hampers development in the area.
The president, who gave the charge when he received some leaders and people of Ogoni Land at the State House, Abuja, Friday, noted that willful damage usually created more havoc on their environment and hampered development in the area.
He said the federal government was committed to the cleaning up of Ogoni Land “so that indigenes could regain their lives, return to farms and re-activate economic activities.”
“You will need to educate the people of Ogoni Land and the region more that when pipelines are broken, the damage is more to the immediate environment and the people. The majority of farmers and fishermen struggle because the fishes now move to the deep sea,” he said.
The president said further that bad industry practices coupled with security challenges had resulted in massive spills with attendant environmental degradation of Ogoni, leading to agitations and strife, adding that the government would bring to a close all pending issues on sons of Ogoni Land.
“Your Royal Highnesses, distinguished representatives of the people of Ogoni Land, I note the need to ensure completion of segment of the East-West road traversing Ogoni Land, and steps will be taken to ensure delivery under the Infrastructure Development Fund as earlier conceived. We intend to complete this vital artery of Nigeria.
“Furthermore, we are committed to ensuring clemency and national integration as part of this Administration’s bid to lay the foundation for genuine reconciliation and
bring closure to the issues of Ogoni Land.
“The unfortunate incidents of the early 1990s leading to the loss of lives of distinguished sons of Ogoni Land and the collateral judicial processes are indelible in our memories.
“In spite of the grievous circumstances, the federal government will consider the request for the grant of pardon to finally close the Ogoni saga.
“This Administration has placed the rehabilitation of the Niger-Delta as a top priority and has committed a lot of resources to tackle existing problems, including launching a one billion dollar oil clean-up exercise to reverse the terrible damage and restore the ecosystem.
“I am pleased that the restoration and amelioration activities under the auspices of the United Nations and the vehicle of Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, has commenced work since we assumed office as we promised.
“We will take further steps to ensure faithful and speedy execution of the project so as to restore the environment and enable farming and fishing activities to resume in the affected areas.”
In his remarks, the president of the Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, King Godwin N.K. Giniwa, thanked President Buhari for the various interventions in the area, particularly on the clean-up of the environment.
The paramount ruler noted that the people believed in the unity of Nigeria and the future of every group could only be guaranteed in one nation.
He congratulated the president for achievements in critical infrastructure in the country, especially in railways and road constructions, urging more efforts in provision of potable water.